Qualitative Research Examples | 5 mins read

5 Qualitative Research Examples in Action

5 qualitative research examples in action
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

5 Clear Cut Qualitative Research Examples

As businesses expand data collection efforts and perform data analysis to learn about their customers, qualitative research grows in popularity. Though the business world relies on quantitative data and quantitative research more often, some industries find that qualitative data is better for market research. So, what exactly are qualitative methods vs. quantitative methods?

Qualitative Method- Collects and analyzes non-statistical information such as videos, interviews, or experiences.

Numerical Research Process (Quantitative)- Focuses on statistical measurements of data collected through surveys, online platforms, social media, or internal business intelligence solutions.

Both research methods help to understand customers, but qualitative research paints a larger picture of consumer behavior. It allows business owners to put themselves in the minds of the consumer to understand their thought patterns and decision-making processes.

Qualitative research methods can provide supplementary information to further explain statistical information. Focus groups and structured interviews give researchers insight into motivations, market needs, and consumer behavior.

  • 89% of companies use online surveys to collect quantitative data
  • 33% of businesses use structured interviews or focus groups to carry out market research
  • 60% of businesses use mobile surveys to collect quantitative data and conduct case studies

1. Qualitative Research Example - Online Store with a Female Audience

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Let's say an online retail store looks through numerical data and determines the majority of its customers are female. While the shop is more than happy to target women, the owner doesn't understand why more men aren't interested in their products. The business has multiple sections for men and runs ads on Facebook specifically targeting a male audience.

The research question is 'Why do more men not purchase from this store?' To answer this question, the shop holds one on one interviews and develops a small sample size of men to conduct a focus group. These qualitative practices should paint a larger picture of what is going on from a male perspective.

Potential insights include not having enough products for the male audience they are targeting or too many products that aren't relevant to the men they want to reach. Another explanation could be that the ads aren't running at the correct times and haven't been reaching a male audience.


Regardless of the reason why men don't shop as much as women, it's beneficial to conduct these studies and expand the horizons of the business. The research used could help the business create improved marketing campaigns and adapt its products to reach new markets.

2. Qualitative Research Example - Developer Creates New Application

Businesses often hold focus groups before launching a new product. This helps determine if the product is likable, useful, and applicable to a target market.

To illustrate, imagine a software developer creates a new application and wants to know how it could perform before it hits stores. They decide the best thing to do is schedule a focus group of 15 people to see what a mixed audience could think about the new product.

While it's great to receive feedback about a new product, a sample size of 15 is too small to collect meaningful insights. The developer is better off holding multiple in-depth interviews in several different areas of the country. Every region must host 15 people in each focus group for every segment of the market.

It's best to speak with as many market segments as possible, with different age groups and demographics. This research method is a more effective way to collect valuable and accurate qualitative data.

3. Qualitative Research Example - Compare Public and Private Schools

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Many academics use qualitative processes to answer research questions and understand group behavior. For example, a researcher may want to compare how well private school students perform academically and socially in comparison to public school students.

The academic holds a structured interview with students and teachers in 5 different private schools. He does the same for 5 separate public schools. He determines that private school students perform better, behave better, and have parents who are more involved. However, the public school places a bigger emphasis on diversity, which the private school lacks.

In conclusion, the academic determines that the public-school system has much to learn from the private school system, but the private school network should also increase its diversity. The researcher carries out the case study through observations, open-ended interviews, and gains descriptive information.

  • Qualitative study on the perceptions of first year college students regarding technology and readiness by Iowa State University
  • Qualitative research on patients' attitudes towards HIV testing in the dental setting by Nursing Research and Practice Hindawi
  • Case study on how students experienced exclusionary disciplinary practices by Walden University
  • Qualitative method on studying during the COVID pandemic in nursing school by MDPI

4. Qualitative Research Example - Understand Purchasing Patterns

Markets use study research to understand why consumers purchase certain items and when. To carry this out, researchers should analyze historical company information and industry-related data to pinpoint where consumers buy large quantities of items.

To illustrate, retailers carry out a qualitative study to determine that the holiday season is a very high season for sales. Insurance agents use qualitative studies to discern that spring and summer are peak seasons to acquire new customers.

5. Qualitative Research Example - Identify Missing Products

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It's not easy to conduct qualitative research. It's timely, meticulous, and ripe for human error if researchers don't know what they are doing. Many businesses find it easier to take industry data that already exists and use it to expand a target market.

For example, a software developer may collect recent industry hacking data and study reports to understand consumer risks. The developer can then create better security measures and market them to new markets to increase sales. This helps an organization generate solutions that consumers actually need so it doesn't have to use guesswork.

  • Quantitative research shows that 57% of consumers shop online during the holiday season
  • Quantitative data shows that nearly 16 billion pieces of mail ship during the holiday season
  • Data collected demonstrates there were over 125 billion in online sales in 2020
  • Case studies show that 50% of holiday shopping is complete by Dec. 3rd

Key Takeaways for Qualitative Research Examples

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In conclusion, here are 5 real-life qualitative research examples

  • An online retail store may use qualitative research to find out why it doesn't have more male customers. The store can conduct one-on-one interviews to find answers and then create better solutions to increase its market share.
  • A software developer wants to find out what a target market thinks about a new product. It should hold as many focus groups as possible to collect meaningful and accurate data.
  • An academic wants to compare qualitative quantitative research in private schools and public schools. He speaks with students, makes observations, and collects descriptive data. This helps him generate a case study and generate recommendations.
  • A retailer and insurance agent want to find out which seasons are high for sales. They collect quantitative qualitative data to improve future marketing campaigns. A software developer wants to create a product that a target audience really needs. It uses industry-related types qualitative information and case studies that already exist to determine tha hacks are a serious consumer concern.

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